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Grants and awards

There are a number of grants and other awards (that don't have to be repaid) which are available in certain circumstances.

Maintenance Grant and Special Support Grant

You may be eligible for a maintenance or special support grant of up to £2,835 per year to help with your living costs. These do not have to be paid back and depend on your household income.

The main difference between the two is that if you receive the maintenance grant it reduces the amount of maintenance loan you are entitled to. This is not the case with the special support grant. The special support grant is available for students who are eligible to receive Income Support and other means-tested benefits, such as Housing Benefit. This may include people who are single parents or students with certain disabilities.


Some universities and colleges charge more than £3,145 a year for a course. In this case they will be required to provide additional financial support (such as bursaries) to those students who are receiving the full £2,835 maintenance grant or special support grant. This additional support does not have to be paid back.

The type and amount of financial help will depend on the university or college concerned. Some students may be entitled to more than this. To find out, speak to the university or college that you wish to attend.


Scholarships are grants given to students by institutions or another sponsoring body, such as a workplace.

They are different from bursaries: bursaries are dependent on financial circumstance, whereas scholarships tend to be awarded on academic achievement.

Applying for grants

See Applying for loans

This page was updated on 15 July, 2008

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